Sad news for Tolkien fans worldwide as Guillermo Del Toro has announced that he will be leaving the planned two-part film project to adapt J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic novel, The Hobbit. As his announcement on TheOneRing.Net explains the many delays to the start of the project has made his role as director to the two films untenable. He had signed up to spend three years in New Zealand to do the films and has even moved his family to have them closer to him during the process, but the constant delays to getting an official start date would mean he would need to spend double the time he had originally signed up for.
These delays have made him put on the backburner his own film projects which seem very close and dear to him. He still has to finish off his Spanish Civil War Trilogy (The Devil’s Backbone and Pan’s Labyrinth being the first two). There’s also his wish to do a third Hellboy film (the second film setting up what could be an epic closing to the franchise). Then there’s his dream project to bring to the big-screen a film adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s novella, At the Mountains of Madness.
With Del Toro now gone as headliner for the two Hobbit films there’s surely going to be new rumors about who shall replace him. There was major scuttlebutt that Sam Raimi was in the running in the beginning before Del Toro signed on. I wouldn’t be surprised if Raimi’s name came up once again. He definitely has free time now that he’s off the Spider-Man franchise. Will Jackson do another “out of left field” decision and tap Blomkamp to take over for Del Toro. I think that’s a brave move if it happens, but also one that could backfire and stunt Blomkamp’s career. He’s already been part of plans to adapt a major franchise only to have it taken away from him.
In the end, it looks like The Hobbit may just end up not being made or, at the very least, not make a 2012 release date many insiders have set it two-part film for.